Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rant: Explicit Content in Games and Why It Should Be There

Since the dawning of games like Mortal Kombat, the ESRB rating system has kept a close eye on the content shown in video games. But still, 15 years after the ESRB was formed, video games still get criticized for showing explicit material such as over-the-top violence, sex, and drug use. Why is that true? Some may argue that this sort of content does not belong in a video game regardless of what the rating on the box says, because kids under the age of 17 will inevitably get their hands on it. But who's fault is this really? Should game developers be doomed to strike out content from their games just because parents are unable to understand how the rating system works? Also, it's almost as easy for kids to be exposed to the same type of material in mediums such as movies, especially with the internet making explicit material incredibly easy to access. Now, I'm in no way advocating that explicit material needs to be placed in games. Personally, I don't find gratuitous violence incredibly entertaining, but who am I to criticize what other people find enjoyable. I just thing it's ironic that an incredibly tame "sex scene" in a game like Mass Effect can cause an uproar amongst the media that the game is immature and disgusting. Parents just need to stop pointing fingers at the game developers and spend more time keeping an eye on what their kids are getting into. But let's face the truth, if your kid wants to see the sex minigame in God of War or the Hot Coffee scene in GTA: San Andreas, all he has to do is enter a phony birthday into the video player. Blaming game developers is not going to fix that problem. In this day and age, there really is no true solution to the problem, but if parents are really worried about what their child is being exposed to when they're playing video games, just read the back of the box. It says EXACTLY why the game got the Mature rating. And if you still have doubts, talk to the people at your local game store. They'll give you the full details on what's in the game and whether it's appropriate for your child to play.


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